Having a limited time when traveling means you will not probably leave the general area you are staying in, and whatever spot you decide to check out when you have a bit of free time should be close by. It also means that you may have to be very specific in what to look for. If you find yourself in the lively city of Lisboa with little time to spend, you will want to stick close to the center - that is where most activities, landmarks, and points of interest are, and some locations are perfect for an enjoyable quick visit to Lisboa!
If all you have is one single day or even a few hours, you won't have a problem having a good time; the question is, what should you search for? If you are feeling for some food and drinks or taking the opportunity to enjoy some culture and entertainment, check out this article for a few ideas and short discoveries in Lisboa! If, however, you want more of a sightseeing approach, look no further. And if you want to know more, check the links for in-depth articles.
Historical monuments and often popular meeting points, these are the locations most people will already know about when visiting Lisboa. The obvious first choices around the center are the busy squares of Rossio (also called Praça D.Pedro IV) and Terreiro do Paço. The city grows, teeming with activity around both of them. If you need a meeting point, these are easy to get to and close to transportation – and also provide great sights!
For quick purposes, entering historic buildings may not the best option for your schedule, but their exterior architectural majesty is not to be missed! A classic is the Convento do Carmo, and one of the major sites of the Carnation Revolution, still bearing the scars of an XVIIIth century earthquake. There is also Castelo S.Jorge at the top of its hill, a castle overlooking the city for hundreds of years.
If you manage to get a few more free hours, take the chance to discover Belém, just a few minutes away from the center, where there is a larger concentration of monuments with fantastic sights of the Tejo as a backdrop. The gorgeous Mosteiro dos Jerónimos will greet you with its XVIth century style, and the peculiar Torre de Belém will transport you to another era.
Some of us enjoy a simple walk through the city, to absorb the images, the sounds and smells of someplace new. Wandering about is a fantastic way to get immersed in a town. If that sounds like you, don't miss out on the historic neighborhood of Alfama, with its twists and turns of medieval origin and hidden stairways. Mouraria, on the other hand, is a place that celebrates Fado and multiculturality. These are just the two closest to the center, but Lisboa’s neighborhoods offer many more atmospheres you should consider exploring!
For more shopping-oriented visitors, the famous Baixa, with its grid-like design, and Avenida da Liberdade, under the shade of trees, will provide you with many shops, boutiques, and shopping centers for a wide range of budgets, all close to restaurants, cafes and cultural hubs.
And finally, for lovers of urban tranquillity and green spaces, there are many fantastic gardens to escape the busy avenues. A picnic in Cerca da Graça, for example, is a fantastic way to take a break in Lisboa. If you can go the extra distance, definitely take the time to check out Gulbenkian’s lovely garden, you can even take a peek at its art museum. And spanning from Cais do Sodré to Terreiro do Paço, an ambiance of riverside: the Ribeira das Naus offers a busy but ample green space, a sort of urban beach to relax by the end of your visit to Lisboa!
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